Rodriguez announces plans for more West New York beat cops, hiring 10 officers


West New York Public Safety Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez announced new plans to have more cops walking the beat on the town’s main thoroughfares, as well as to hire 10 new police officers by the end of the year.

“In December, as you know, we introduced our holiday walking program on Bergenline Avenue which was well received by shoppers, business owners, and most importantly our residents,” Rodriguez, standing with Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, Margarita Guzman and a handful of police officers outside their headquarters for a press conference yesterday.

“Today, we are proud to announce the official launch of our townwide community policing, walking program. The walking program provides our community with a visible presence of police officers in the busy areas of town, becoming both a deterrent of crime and peace of mind for our residents.”

Rodriguez thanked Guzman for working with him to try and balance the budget to make way for new police recruits, as well as Cirillo for recommending which areas could use an increased police presence due to recreational activities enjoyed by the town’s youth.

During a question and answer session with the media, Rodriguez said that neither initiative will create any additional costs for the taxpayers, noting that hiring 10 new officers would bring the department up to 125 cops – a state recommended number that has not been hit since 2005.

“It was in 2005 actually that the department was at 129, we want to get to the point where we exceed that number,” Rodriguez told HCV.

After the presser concluded, the three commissioners and a handful of police officers, including Director Robert Antolos, walked and handed out fliers on Bergenline Avenue to let residents and business owners know about the expanded police walking program.

Rodriguez, who is heading the “New Beginnings West New York” slate with Cirillo, Guzman and first time candidates Yoleisy Yanez and Victor Barrera, made his announcement four days after Mayor Felix Roque said he plans on fundraising $500,000 to install a new surveillance camera system in town.

When asked what he thought about Rodriguez’s remarks, Roque said that while he still supports adding more officers to the department, he was annoyed that the challenger “is lying about my proven record.”

“Where was he and his family eight years ago when Mr. Sal Vega decided to raise taxes and fire police officers,” Roque said of his challenger.

Roque added that a cursory review of crime statistics provided by the New Jersey State Police show that violent crime is on the decline since he took office in 2011.

According to those stats, there were 185 violent crimes in West New in 2011, compared to 110 in 2018 (that figure doesn’t include December), while robberies and aggravated assaults are on a downward trend since 2015 (the year Roque was re-elected with his current challengers and Commissioner Susan Colacurcio).

He also cited hiring around 30 officers, acquiring new police vehicles and helping plan the annual National Night Out as a few example of how he has been committed to public safety in the past eight years.

Roque is seeking a third term on May 14h, leading the “Forward with Roque” ticket, that includes Colacurcio, Richard Acosta, Ana Luna and Board of Education Trustee Maite Fernandez.

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  1. Dear Mayor Roque, I was taught that my word should be my bond. I was also taught not to attack a political rival’s family. Once you became Mayor, you were briefed on why the Vega Administration HAD to raise taxes. You acknowledged to me that indeed, (your words) ‘Mayor Vega was dealt a hot handle.’
    Mayor Turner is certainly a pleasant fellow, someone who I would enjoy having a beer with. Mayor Sires have every positive indication from Mayor Turner’s exemplary job when he was brought in by the State to turn around the severe fiscal straits Weehawken found itself in before Mr. Turner was elected Mayor, as the sound reason to hire Mayor Turner as West New York’s Administrator. Under normal conditions, there can be such arrangement as long as said Administrator can fairly do both jobs. In my opinion, Mayor Roque, Mayor Turner short-sheeted West New York by ultimately convincing the West New York Governing Board (as quoted in a March 1998 North Hudson Reporter article by Bruce Walter) that ‘bundling (WNYMUA Debt’ in the scores of millions) in the form of ‘third party liens’-bonding that debt that Mayor Sires inherited from the DeFino Administration, was a good idea. Taxes for property owners who lived in WNY during the Sires Administration actually went down an aggregate average of half a percentage point from 1995-2006 (Commissioner Vega took over as Mayor in late 2006 when Mayor Sires filled the vacant position as our Congressman when Congressmen Menendez filled the US Senate position occurring when Senator Corzine was elected (or about to be elected Governor.) The Sires Administration had to cut spending and it did so. I do not blame the WNY Governing Board for trusting Mayor Turner’s ‘kick the can down the road approach’. I blame Mayor Turner, for painting to our Administration too rosey a picture of possible consequences of deferring the payment of so much debt. Truth be told, Mayor Roque, Commissioner Vega lost out the final Commissioner seat by comming up short about 82 votes to your friend, a man who ultimately plead guilty to Mortgage Equity Skimming. A man who lied to WNY Police on two occasions. A man, who while he was skimming the mortgage equity on one property saw a home owned by his wife experience a ‘House Fire Deemed Suspicous’ that came dangerously close to engulfing MY HOME, endangering the lives of my wife two pets, and I. But you, Mayor Roque, came to your friend’s rescue, having a a hand in appointing this same former used car salesman as WNY’s representative on the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Board!!! Really?!!! Why did you Fire WNY Building Code Official Thomas O’Malley and Employee Kimberly when Mr. O’Malley reported activities to The State involving that former Commissioner, another high Town Official and a property you once owned in the area? How many payouts have been paid by our Insurance to settle claims? Perhaps Angel Barquin, a great and decent man whose computer was hacked knows that answer. Truth be told, WNY would have been better of with a Commissioner Vega in your Administration than your ethically challenged former used car salesman friend.